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Contact Info for Webb, Pelosi & Reid - Let Them Hear From You!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2007 4:05am PT  

UPDATE 1/23/07 1:54pm PT: I received background comment on all of this from a Pelosi aide late yesterday afternoon who promised to send an official statement, their position, the Constitutionality issue (there is none), etc. Their official statement, seeming to close the door on this possibility, is now posted here along with some additional thoughts.

I've received extraordinarily positive responses to my call, as posted on Friday at both Huff Po and BRAD BLOG, calling on Congressional Democrats to allow Virginia's Sen. Jim Webb to deliver his Opposition Response to the State of the Union Address to the entire, full, joint session of Congress just after George W. Bush finishes his on Tuesday night.

That, instead of the usual limp response as performed in front of a single TV camera in some studio somewhere which can't hope to compete with the live "Presidential Performance" moments before to a packed house.

I've come to understand the tradition of such a response has been in play since 1966 --- a relic of the Reagan-dissolved 'Fairness Doctrine' --- and, like the President's televised speech before a full joint session of Congress, has no actual basis in the Constitution. Both are simply done that way largely by tradition. Even Presidents as recently as Jimmy Carter chose to deliver the State of the Union via a letter to Congress instead.

Nothing now keeps Congressional Democrats, in charge of both the House and Senate, from changing the Pres-Joint Session/Oppo-Basement Response tradition other than the courage and fortitude to do so. Buoyed by overwhelming support from the American people last November to take back power from a runaway Imperial Presidency, it's time for them to take the stage they deserve, and give Webb the podium to make their case before the entire joint session just after Dubya.

But, being Democrats, they may need your help to show that courage and fortitude.

My complete editorial originally making the case for giving Webb the platform we all deserve has, so far, far been posted in full at a number of websites, including TruthDig, RAW STORY, OpEd News, After Downing Street, Democratic Underground, Left in Aboite and NYTimes' About.com.

Off-the-record response to the idea, as received from various politicos inside the beltway, has been quite positive.

But it will still take a lot of noise and many citizens standing up to call for this in order for the Democrats to show the courage they'd need to make this bold and important change to the years-long tradition of relegating Opposition SOTU Responses to the dim recesses of some poorly lit makeshift TV studio somewhere.

In addition to passing the original editorial virally around the net and elsewhere, some specific calls and/or emails may be in order. To that end, I might suggest as many folks as possible contact the following offices as soon as they can to strongly advocate for this important, and if I say so myself, excellent idea.

Sen. Jim Webb
Phone: 202-224-4024

Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Phone: (202) 225-4965
Email: sf.nancy@mail.house.gov

Sen. Harry Reid
Phone: (202) 224-3542
Email: reid.senate.gov/contact/email_form.cfm

As usual, don't rely on others to take action here. It's your country. Take it back.

If you have other thoughts on how to help encourage Democrats to allow for the above, please post them in Comments below --- or just take action!

(NOTE TO REPUBLICANS: This idea would likely become a new tradition, and would thus be one that your party would similarly find beneficial if the Democrats are ever able to figure out how to get seated in the White House in the future.)

# # #

Copyright notice: Please feel free to copy the above article in full and distribute it far and wide with attribution to Brad Friedman and The BRAD BLOG (www.BradBlog.com)

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...As Proposed by Fred Kagan, Bastardized by Bush and Spun by Kagan with an Assist from Bill Kristol...
By Alan Breslauer on 1/21/2007 4:36pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

On Saturday, there was a death "surge" in Iraq as at least 25 U.S. troops were killed on a single day in the worst one-day death toll for our troops since the start of the War.

Meanwhile, as Bush prepares to serve up another 21,500 American troops to Iraq, it's worth taking a look at who the hell came up with the "augmentation" plan in the first place, what it said before the Bush spin machine grabbed hold of it, and what the plan's author has had to say since Bush revealed it to the country on January 10, 2007.

According to Fred Barnes, Fox "News" perennial and editor of The Weekly Standard and as confirmed by the BBC, Washington Post and The Economist, Bush's new and improved plan for Iraq is based on a 50-page report written by retired General Jack Keane and Frederick Kagan, a "military academic" at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). The report does, in fact, read much like Bush's proposal. With one small exception. As Barnes points out, the Keane/Kagan plan originally "envision[ed] a temporary addition of 50,000 troops".

With that in mind, here are some excerpts from the report, a television appearance and other media authored by Frederick Kagan over the last two months --- beginning before last November's election, well prior to Bush's announcement of the new scheme --- along with a couple of guest appearances by Surge Master Bill Kristol...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By John Gideon on 1/20/2007 4:45pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

In an Op-Ed in the Miami Herald today, the President of Sequoia and President and CEO of its parent company, Smartmatic, said, in defending the Sequoia ownership, "Most important, the idea that foreigners could somehow influence the U.S. voting process is untrue and ignores the numerous safeguards and stringent regulations in place to ensure fair and accurate elections. Sequoia Voting Systems' election equipment and software have been tested and qualified by federal Independent Testing Authorities and certified by individual states." The Independent Testing Authorities (ITAs) mentioned are companies like Ciber. Is this supposed to give us some confidence? Are they kidding?...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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So Much Absurdity, So Little Time
In Case You Missed 'Em... Selected Stories from the Week That Was
By Desi Doyen on 1/20/2007 4:19pm PT  

Guest Blogged by DES

SUNDAY, Jan. 14th....

Rightwing Tool of the Week: Washington Times
The White House Organ Faced Stiff Competition, But Managed to Produce the Most Disingenuous, Inaccurate, U.S. Troop-Hating 'News Report' of the Week
Tony Snow to Present 'Award Statuette' in Appreciation During Secret Rose Garden Ceremony...

The White House and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday accused Democrats of suggesting that the secretary's childlessness, race and sex are to blame for mistakes in Iraq.

MONDAY, Jan. 15th...

MLK: 'A Time Comes When Silence is Betrayal'

"We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest...A time comes when silence is betrayal."

-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Riverside Church, New York City, April 4, 1967.

VIDEO - Finally! A Media Outlet CORRECTLY Covers Rice Admission That White House (Supposedly) Made No Casuality Estimates for Iraq Escalation Plan
LAURA BUSH FLASHBACK: 'Dr. Rice Not Interested in Presidency Because She's Single, No Parents Living, is Only Child'
PLUS: Nora Ephron's 'Condi Diaries'...

TUESDAY, Jan. 16th...

Election Assistance Cheerleader
The EAC and Its Outgoing Commissioner Paul DeGregorio's Campaign to Plant Misinformation in the American Media...

The Commissioner keeps telling the voters that we should have confidence in the election process. He constantly states that everything worked just fine except for isolated incidents. Meanwhile, he ignores the facts about failures that happened across the nation. He ignores data such as that which is reported in "E-Voting Failures in the 2006 Mid-Term Elections" written by VotersUnite, VoteTrustUSA, VoterAction and Pollworkers For Democracy.

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 17th...

'Total Bull' That Congress Can't Stop Bush Iraq Escalation Plan Says John Edwards Campaign
Take-No-Prisoners Email by New Presidential Campaign Chief Highly Critical of Bush, Congressional Democrats
Ad to be Placed in 'Roll Call', Supporters Asked to Sign Petition Demanding Congress Cut Off Funding for New War Plan

I am opposed to President Bush's plan to send additional troops to Iraq. Congress must act now to block funding of Bush's escalation of the war — and demand that the President provide a plan to leave Iraq.

Sign the Edwards petition calling on Congress to block funding for Bush's escalation plan here.

THURSDAY, Jan. 18th...

Jeff Stone: The Coward of Riverside County?
The California County Supervisor Continues to Hide Behind Unrealistic 'Conditions' on His Sequoia Voting Machine 'Hack Challenge'
COLUMNIST: 'A test that doesn't allow the hacker to work on the machines as handled prior to the election and after it is no real test at all.'

Unless Stone allows a legitimate security penetration test to be held on his systems, as would occur in the commercial world for any such mission-critical, secure system, he is signaling to his constituents, the state of California, and America that even he has no confidence in the security of the equipment supplied to his voters to exercise their precious democratic franchise.

..."If there's somebody that can demonstrate that they can hack into the machines we want to know about it," he said. "And, then we'll be throwing away a lot of machines."

FRIDAY, Jan. 19th...

VIDEOS - Colbert on O'Reilly, O'Reilly on Colbert
Colbert: 'If you're an act... then what am I?'

BOB NEY SENTENCED TO 30 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR BRIBERY SCANDAL
Ohio's Former U.S. Congressman, Author of Help America Vote Act, Loses Voting Privileges as Felon, Keeps $29,000 Annual Congressional Pension...

As a felon, Ney will no longer be able to vote in the state of Ohio, even as America will be stuck with his disastrous and cynical HAVA legislation for years. And despite House Democrats' plans to remove pensions for convicted members, apparently the action will not be retroactive. So Ney will get to retain his $29,000 annual pension from the House. Forever. Nice work if you can get it.

Congressional Dems - You're a Co-Equal Branch, the State of the Union Address is the Perfect Opportunity to Point That Out
Pelosi and Reid Should Allow Jim Webb to Address the Full Joint Session in His Democratic Response Next Week...

The Democratic party was placed into power last November to take back America. Webb is the perfect representation of that reclamation of power. The State of the Union address gives the Dems, via Webb's response, the perfect moment to make their intentions crystal clear to the nation. But they need to give Webb the same level playing field they've graciously granted to Bush.

SATURDAY, Jan. 20th...

AP: Defense Dept. Retracts Published Claims of Spy Radio Transmitters in Canadian Coins

Apparently these guys are having trouble separating the phony intelligence from the phony intelligence. Luckily, Judith Miller wasn't around to report it on the front page of the New York Times, else we might have had American troops marching into Saskatchewan by now.

United we stand.

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By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2007 12:05pm PT  

Last week we ran a story from AP about which we (pardon the pun) could make neither heads nor tails of. It concerned a report from the Dept. of Defense warning American contractors in Canada to be on the lookout for coins containing tiny radio transmitters --- presumably to track the locations of those contractors.

At the time, additional details from DoD were "classified". Perhaps now we find out why. It was all bullshit. From AP on Friday...

Reversing itself, the Defense Department says an espionage report it produced that warned about Canadian coins with tiny radio-frequency transmitters was not true.

The Defense Security Service said it never could substantiate its own published claims about the mysterious coins. It has begun an internal review to determine how the false information was included in a 29-page report about espionage concerns.
...
Experts said such tiny transmitters almost certainly would have limited range to communicate with sensors no more than a few feet away, such as ones hidden inside a doorway. The metal coins also would interfere with any signals emitted, they said.

Experts also warned that hiding tracking technology inside coins would be fraught with risks because the spy's target might inadvertently give away the coin or spend it.
...
The service initially maintained that its report on the spy coins was accurate but said further details about the spy coins were classified.

Apparently these guys are having trouble separating the phony intelligence from the phony intelligence. Luckily, Judith Miller wasn't around to report it on the front page of the New York Times, else we might have had American troops marching into Saskatchewan by now.

United we stand.

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By John Gideon on 1/19/2007 4:25pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

"In the Cuyahoga case, the poll workers are charged with circumventing state recount laws that require a random sampling of at least three percent of the votes cast in a given precinct, to be recounted by hand and by machine. The prosecution charges that the workers instead hand picked sample precincts to recount that they knew did not have questionable results. Once they were able to match those recounts with official results, they could then do the rest of the recount by machine, in effect rendering the entire process meaningless. "This was a very hush operation," said prosecutor Baxter. Similar allegations have been made in other counties. Indeed, such illegal non-random recounting procedures appear to have been common throughout the state, carried out by board of election employees with the tacit consent of Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell", according to an article in "The Free Press"...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Pelosi and Reid Should Allow Jim Webb to Address the Full Joint Session in His Democratic Response Next Week...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2007 12:21pm PT  

(I just cross-posted the following over at Huffington Post. Please spread the word on this one between now and next Tuesday if you can. --- BF)

I don't know how long the tradition of an Opposition Party "Response" to the President's State of the Union address has been going on. But for as long as I can recall, it has been a drab, embarrassing, cringe-worthy effort by whichever party found itself unlucky enough to not be in the White House.

Over the last six years, the Bush Administration has run rough-shod over their co-equal Congressional partners, stealing extraordinary power for themselves at every turn with the short-sighted blessings of their Republican chums in the House and Senate as an all-but-castrated Democratic party stood quietly by in the background for the most part.

This year, the Dems have smartly tapped freshman Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) to deliver the Democratic response to Bush's State of the Union Address. No simpering softee he, Webb has already shown he has the stones to look Bush straight in the eye and deliver as good as he gets in the face of a classic Dubya bully-boy alpha-dog snarl.

But no matter how much clout, moral authority or gigantic balls the former Reagan Naval Secretary and proud father of a son still serving in Iraq may be, the conventional stagecraft of the SOTU and its Democratic/Republican Response simply stacks the cards insurmountably against the opposition party and --- as is likely again this year --- only serves to reinforce a perceived, if undeserved, imbalance between the two parties and the two branches of Government.

Just moments after the predictable but rousing reception given to any President during a SOTU address --- featuring long and loud applause break after applause break and the undeniable excitement of a live speech delivered on live television to a packed and contentious house --- there is no way that a one-camera opposition party Response delivered in an all but empty room turned TV studio can ever hope to measure up to the pomp and circumstance of the President's address. That fact would be true even if Superman was selected to deliver the opposition party Response.

It's time to make a change.

And it's time for the Dems to take back just some of the White House's self-proclaimed empirical majesty in the bargain.

So here's what I think is a very good new idea...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Alan Breslauer on 1/19/2007 11:39am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Hopefully this mashup evidences the insanity of George W. Bush's Iraq policy. Lies, incompetence and just plain scary - do you live on this planet - quotes are a recipe for continued disaster in Iraq. Sadly, even if the Bush were right about the consequences of leaving, it still would be our only option as long as he remained Commander In Chief. With no credibility left, the only place anyone is likely to follow the President is to the Hague. Somehow, some way, we must end the war and the Bush presidency before he and the neocons 'make the peace' with Iran.

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Ohio's Former U.S. Congressman, Author of Help America Vote Act, Loses Voting Privileges as Felon, Keeps $29,000 Annual Congressional Pension...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2007 9:55am PT  

It's now just over a year to the day since we first described the now-disgraced and now-former Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) as the "Soon-to-be-Indicted Bob Ney" in our exposé connecting the dots between him, his former Chief of Staff turned Diebold's top lobbyist on Capitol Hill, David DiStefano, Jack Abramoff's Greenburg Traurig firm and the whole Help America Vote Act (HAVA) sham which Ney pushed through Congress via his crooked chairmanship of the U.S. House Administration Committee.

Back then, few had heard of him. But today, Ney was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in the federal pen after pleading guilty to "illegally accepting trips, meals, drinks, tickets to concerts and sporting events and other items worth tens of thousands of dollars in return for official acts performed for lobbyist Abramoff and his clients."

Ney's long-overdue trip up the river comes despite defense pleas for mercy and sentencing to rehab in light of their claims that it was the evil bottle that dunnit. As ever, Ney continues to avoid taking responsibility. Happily, the judge didn't buy it. Oh, well. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

As a felon, Ney will no longer be able to vote in the state of Ohio, even as America will be stuck with his disastrous and cynical HAVA legislation for years. And despite House Democrats' plans to remove pensions for convicted members, apparently the action will not be retroactive. So Ney will get to retain his $29,000 annual pension from the House. Forever. Nice work if you can get it.

Anyway, another one bites the dust. Now, about the soon-to-be-indicted George W. Bush...

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Colbert: 'If you're an act... then what am I?'
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2007 9:01am PT  

Sure, these will likely be everywhere today. But for good reason. Colbert hit it out of the park twice yesterday. First when he appeared on O'Reilly's show and then again when O'Reilly appeared on his. Both infinitely worth the watch. And to underscore Colbert's genius, the cover that he shows of O'Reilly's book and the last line of his interview with O'Reilly on his own show. Both nothing less than solid gold...

COLBERT ON O'REILLY'S SHOW

O'REILLY ON COLBERT'S SHOW

(Hat-tip to RAW STORY for the videos.)

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By Brad Friedman on 1/18/2007 6:22pm PT  

Art Buchwald
1925 - 2007

"Hi. I'm Art Buchwald and I just died."

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The California County Supervisor Continues to Hide Behind Unrealistic 'Conditions' on His Sequoia Voting Machine 'Hack Challenge'
COLUMNIST: 'A test that doesn't allow the hacker to work on the machines as handled prior to the election and after it is no real test at all.'
By Brad Friedman on 1/18/2007 5:14pm PT  

There were two fresh articles this week in the media on the Riverside Hack Challenge as initially reported by The BRAD BLOG after the throw-down by Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone to Election Integrity Advocates just before the holidays in early December.

You'll recall he bet "a thousand to one" that the county's touch-screen Sequoia voting system could not be hacked. He did so during a public meeting on video tape. If you don't recall, we'll summarize as briefly as we can. He challenged and the Election Integrity Advocates accepted, as noted voting machine hacker and computer security expert Harri Hursti agreed to take the challenge, and then Stone and the rest of the Riverside Supervisors began to go wobbly. Stone even went so far as to invent ridiculous, unrealistic, unilateral conditions for the hack test in a desperate letter sent to then-outgoing Secretary of State Bruce McPherson, in an apparent hope for a life line from the county's old, but now out-of-power, state ally up in Sacramento. He doesn't appear to have gotten one. The new SoS Debra Bowen's office has informally told The BRAD BLOG they see no legal hurdles to such an independent test of voting machine security.

But with internationally respected computer security experts such as Hursti and Dr. Herbert F. Thompson of Security Innovation (the author of some 12 books on the topic including How to Break Software Security: Effective Techniques for Security Testing and The Software Vulnerability Guide) and others having pointed out that Stone's unilaterally created conditions meant to simulate an attempted hack by a voter on election day were silly, unrealistic, and not the way such a penetration test would ever be carried out in the real world, Stone continues to cower behind them as reported by both media reports this week.

In doing so, Stone is tacitly admitting, of course, that his county's electronic voting systems --- which the Board of Supervisors and Riverside Registrar of Voters Barbara Dunmore have devoutly declared to be "secure" --- are, in fact, anything but.

They know damned well they are not. And their evidence-free claims to the contrary over the last 10 years or so are revealed as little more than unsubstantiated hot air now that their true lack of confidence in their own voting systems has been put on display for the world.

As they well know --- as do the Election Integrity advocates on the ground in Riverside --- the real threat to unsecured, hackable Electronic Voting Machines comes from insiders. That much has been written about time and again by computer security experts and in any number of reports on the topic. Even the biased and partisan and pro-electronic voting machine Baker/Carter Commission admitted as much when their final report on National Election Reform said, "Software can be modified maliciously before being installed into individual voting machines. There is no reason to trust insiders in the election industry any more than in other industries."

Revealed along with Stone's disingenuous "condition" in his letter to McPherson, that the hack tester may not "reach around the back of the machine" --- (Stone may have forgotten when he made his challenge initially that The BRAD BLOG had long ago reported that voters could vote as many times as they wanted on Sequoia touch-screen systems by merely pressing a yellow button on the back of the machine) --- the folks in Riverside have exposed themselves as knowing full well about the unreliability of their crappy, unsecured voting system.

Unless Stone allows a legitimate security penetration test to be held on his systems, as would occur in the commercial world for any such mission-critical, secure system, he is signaling to his constituents, the state of California, and America that even he has no confidence in the security of the equipment supplied to his voters to exercise their precious democratic franchise.

Two more reporters picked up the shameful tale this week in local media.

The Desert Sun's Nicole C. Brambila filed a short piece on Sunday headlined "Hacking debate gains traction" in which Stone and his pusillanimous peeps once again re-iterate the phony conditions for "no tools and no dismantling the machine. And, the hacker has to infiltrate the system in 15 minutes, the estimated time it takes a voter to do his or her civic duty."

We laugh knowingly in Stone's general direction. Even as he likely cries inside.

Of fresh note in Brambila's piece are these final grafs...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By John Gideon on 1/18/2007 4:32pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

The Duval Co. Florida finance committee approved funding for printers for the counties DREs (Diebold TSx). The first question that came to mind when I read this is, "How can Duval buy printers for their machines when the state has said they are not allowed and they are not state certified? Then I got deeper into the article. "Verifiable Paper Audit Trail"? Where is the 'voter'? Then it is all explained: “The voter will not see it and they cannot take it,” said Phillips. “The paper trail will be rolled up in the machine.” The voter will not see the printed ballot. In other words the county has approved funding to install a printer on the machines and that printer is already on those machines. Perhaps that's why in the cost breakdown no where do they mention the cost of the printers only repairs, maintenance, etc. In other words, this is all more misleading information and obfuscation on the part of an election official who only wants to promote confidence at the expense of the facts. / Three Cuyahoga Co. Ohio election workers went on trial today for 6 counts each of misconduct for rigging the 2004 state mandated recount in their county. The workers pre-counted and sorted ballots in order to find precincts where the recount would find no problems....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Michael Richardson on 1/18/2007 12:44pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Michael Richardson

The efforts of the Election Assistance Commission to accredit test laboratories for the nation's electronic voting machines have left the country with only two labs, SysTest and Wyle, operating on interim approval; and one laboratory, Ciber, left unaccredited since the National Association of State Election Directors got out of the certification business last year.

Published reports indicate the Ciber lab was denied interim accreditation last summer for a history of inadequate quality assurance and inability to document that critical tests were performed. The EAC is saying little about the matter to the media and has now been requested by Senator Diane Feinstein to explain why Ciber was not accredited and why disclosure of that fact was kept from election officials around the nation.

EAC regulatory staff might just want to peek at Ciber's website where they will discover that the banned Ciber lab has merged its testing division with EAC approved Wyle lab. Ciber boasts, "The CIBER-Wyle team is your single source for independent voting machine testing."

"With the growing demand for premier independent software/hardware testing of Voting Machines, CIBER and Wyle have joined forces are now offering the quality independent testing solutions needed for voting machine systems supporting the Election Assistance Commission standards."

"Our teams, co-located in Huntsville, Alabama, have now integrated best of breed testing solutions, CIBER for software testing and Wyle for their hardware testing capabilities. By teaming we now offer complete independent voting system testing solutions for voting system vendors and for state governments."

"We combined the two most experienced labs and staffs in the country into one efficient organization. We provide a co-located testing facility on one campus for all your testing needs. Successfully tested and recommended for certification the industry leaders in voting systems. Specialized support for prequalification testing and anomaly resolution/verification."

The Ciber website also has a pitch for state business as well as electronic voting machines vendors but they should have used a grammar check. "The CIBER-Wyle team will help you to make sure that your election is run with little or no room for criticism. They will assist in areas such as assuring that you have the current certified copy of your voting vendor's hardware and software and that you will have implemented a set of state voting standards that will meet the [sic] with the majority of the voters' approval, taking into consideration the usability and accessibility of the voting system."

Ciber's role in testing of voting technology was more than issuing reports to vendors and states, like Florida, which rely upon Ciber reports for their technology advice to local election officials. Despite the growing number of reports about inadequate testing, now leaking out about Ciber's failures, which reveal long-standing problems of deficiency, the test lab also serviced the Department of Defense.

Ciber's self-promotional web page about the Federal Voting Assistance Program provides Senator Feinstein with new areas needing review for sloppy work on the voting system that assists military voters.

"The scope of the work included testing and validation of both the system's functionality and security....based on our certification as an Independent Test Authority, CIBER was awarded this work....Ciber performed system security penetration assessments....Based on this work, CIBER documented system exposures and vulnerabilities. Periodic penetration assessment continued during system operation."

The merger of the two "independent" test labs into one team raises red flags about Wyle's interim EAC accreditation status; while Ciber's voting security testing for the Defense Department, based on its earlier NASED certification, may soon be getting review by Congress.

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Take-No-Prisoners Email by New Presidential Campaign Chief Highly Critical of Bush, Congressional Democrats
Ad to be Placed in 'Roll Call', Supporters Asked to Sign Petition Demanding Congress Cut Off Funding for New War Plan
By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2007 5:11pm PT  

In a harshly worded fund raising letter sent to members of John Edwards's 2008 presidential campaign e-mail list late this afternoon, his new Campaign Manager, former Congressman David Bonior (D-MI), holds little back in his sharp criticism of both George W. Bush and Democratic members of Congress for their Iraq War policies and politics. (Email posted in full at end of this article.)

The email --- with the eye-popping, if impolitic, subject line "Total Bull" --- first takes aim at Bush's recent pronouncements, as reported by U.S. News and World Report and elsewhere after Bush's appearance on CBS' 60 Minutes last Sunday, "that Congress does not have the power to stop his proposed escalation of the war in Iraq."

"That's bull," Bonior writes before going on in the email to criticize his former Democratic colleagues in Congress, taking them to task for their failure to "step up to the plate and use their power to stop the president from escalating the war."

"I can assure you that Congress does have the power to stop this escalation," says the 26-year former Congressman.

"Some [in Congress] are calling for symbolic statements that do nothing to stop the escalation," he writes. "If you hear a member of Congress say 'non-binding resolution,' then you're really hearing them say 'pass the buck.'"

"And some members of Congress are waiting for --- well, we don't know what they're waiting for."

Citing Edwards's position "calling on Congress to stand up and take responsibility by using its power to prevent this war from getting any worse," Bonior goes on to announce the campaign's plan to run a full page ad in Roll Call, with a petition against the escalation and the "tens of thousands" of signatures from supporters who've signed it. The e-mail asks supporters to contribute money as well towards purchase of the ad.

Edwards's short petition, which can be signed here, calls on Congress to block funding for Bush's escalation plan. It reads in full:

I am opposed to President Bush's plan to send additional troops to Iraq. Congress must act now to block funding of Bush's escalation of the war — and demand that the President provide a plan to leave Iraq.

LATE RELATED-ISH UPDATE: First Zogby poll out of Iowa shows Edwards leading the Dem pack with 27%. Far ahead of "second tier dog-fight" between Obama, Hillary, and home state Gov. Vilsack. No big surprises on the Republican side with McCain and Giuliani duking it out, though Newt coming in an eyebrow-raisingly close third place. (Thanks reader TC for the tip.)

The e-mail sent to supporters via the JohnEdwards.com mailing list follows in full below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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